I just read an excellent article by Martin Creamer, Creamer Media Editor, published by Miningweekly.com, and dated 4/11/19 on fuel cells. Martin reported that Benny Oeyen, Anglo American's head of market development, had a number of key points:
1. "Very real and credible progress is being made in the development of the hydrogen economy"
2. Oeyen noted that hydrogen was the sole route to 100% carbon free driving
3. Oeyen spoke about using wind and sun to liberate hydrogen from water, and platinum then catalysing the hydrogen into electricity in fuel cells
4. Another big advantage of hydrogen that Oeyen addressed, reported by Creamer, "is the ability to store excess electricity for placement on power grids when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining."
5. Additionally, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have a 600-700 km range, and can be filled up in 2-3 minutes
THIS LATTER POINT TO ME, IS CRITICAL. I DONT ENVISION THE ABILITY TO RAPIDLY CHARGE BATTERIES; THE ONLY SOLUTION IS SWAPPING BATTERY PACKS AT "SWAP STATIONS", AND THAT JUST DOESN'T STRIKE ME AS PRACTICAL. HOW ARE ELECTRIC CARS GOING TO REALLY WORK WITHOUT THE ABILITY TO REFUEL? EVEN IF RANGE CAN BE EXTENDED FROM CURRENT 200 MILES OR SO, JUST LOOK AT THE WAY THE WORLD USES CARS. IT ALMOST SEEMS TO ME THAT BELIEVING IN ELECTRIC CARS WOULD BE BELIEVING THAT PEOPLE WILL CHANGE THEIR HABITS, WHICH IS IN TOTAL CONTRADICTION TO EVERY GAS STATION ON THE PLANET'S PURPOSE!!!
SO WHAT DOES ALL OF THAT MEAN? THE REAL ANSWER IS FUEL CELLS, WHICH INCORPORATE PLATINUM, ALTHOUGH OF COURSE, THERE WILL BE A MAJOR SURGE IN PURELY ELECTRIC VEHICLES THAT ARE PURPOSED FOR SHORT TERM TRIPS.
NOW LET'S LOOK AT CHINA AND JAPAN. Martin's excellent article (thank you Martin!) notes, "Governments are also getting behind hydrogen fuel cell travel, notably those of China, Japan and Korea: "The Chinese Government is four square behind hydrogen. There's a chapter in their five year plans about new energy vehicles and new energy sources and there's a whole chapter on hydrogen. They have a very clear plan and they want to develop a hydrogen corridor along the Yangtze River. China is completely behind fuel cell vehicles."
Further quoting from Oeyen, Martin writes, "The Japanese government really wants the country to become a hydrogen economy and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are already being dubbed the Hydrogen Olympics because they're going to showcase vehicles and everything is going to be hydrogen based, and the same is now true of Korea."
AND, AS OEYEN SAYS, "PLATINUM IS CURRENTLY THE BEST CATALYST IN A FUEL CELL AND I THINK IT WILL REMAIN SO FOR A LONG TIME."
MY VIEW? IT MAKES TOTAL, LOGICAL SENSE. WHILE CHINA WILL CLEARLY SUPPORT BOTH ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND FUEL CELL POWERED TRANSPORT, ANY TRANSPORT USE THAT REQUIRES REFUELING SUPPORTS THE FUEL CELL APPROACH. AND OF COURSE, CHARGING BATTERIES, REQUIRES CONVENTIONAL POWER FOR THE ELECTRIC GRID.